Black Currant

Medically Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on March 17, 2023
3 min read

Health supplements are made from the black currant plant using its:

  • Seed oil
  • Leaves
  • Fruit
  • Flowers

Black currant contains:

  • Anthocyanidin, a type of pigment
  • Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an omega-6 fatty acid
  • Alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) and other omega-6 fats

Some researchers believe these may help the immune system and lessen inflammation.

Although more study is needed, limited research suggests that black currant might help:

Some women take black currant seed oil, or other sources of gamma-linolenic acid, to try to treat symptoms of:

People also take black currant to try to boost immunity or to try to treat a wide range of problems that include:

People also apply it directly to the skin to try to help with wounds or insect bites.

There is not enough evidence to prove that black currant helps with menstruation-related symptoms or these other health conditions.

Optimal doses of black currant have not been set for any condition. Quality and active ingredients in supplements may vary widely from maker to maker. This makes it hard to set a standard dose.

You can eat the berry of the black currant plant. The berry is also used as a flavoring in liqueurs and other products.

The juice, leaves, and flowers of black currant are safe when eaten in food products. Black currant is also considered safe if you use the berry or seed oil appropriately as medicine. More information is needed to know whether its dried leaf is safe.

Side effects. The GLA in black currant seeds can sometimes cause side effects, such as:

But most people tend to have few problems with GLA. Allergy is a rare complication.

Risks. Black currant may slow blood clotting. So avoid using it if you have a bleeding disorder or take blood thinners.

Also, stop taking black currant at least two weeks before surgery in order to:

  • Reduce the risk of bleeding
  • Avoid interactions with anesthesia

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it's best to avoid use, just to be safe.

Interactions. Be careful about combining black currant with herbs and supplements that can slow blood clotting, such as:

  • Angelica
  • Clove
  • Ginger
  • Panax ginseng

Also be careful about combining black currant with drugs that can slow blood clotting, such as:

Also, avoid combining black currant with antipsychotic drugs called phenothiazines. In some people, this combination may raise the risk of seizure.

Be sure to tell your doctor about any supplements you're taking, even if they're natural. That way, your doctor can check on any potential side effects or interactions with medications or foods. They can let you know if the supplement might raise your risks.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does regulate dietary supplements; however, it treats them like foods rather than medications. Unlike drug manufacturers, the makers of supplements don’t have to show their products are safe or effective before selling them on the market.